Society has categorized “homeless” as having a negative connotation. A person who is homeless does not have a shelter or a way of providing food for themselves. One topic I never understood is how a person becomes homeless. There are thousands of jobs out there, especially minimum wage paying jobs, yet there are people who stand on the side of the road begging others for money. Of course there are other necessities that need to be paid for, but shelter and food are priority. According to the NationalHomeless.org, “Homelessness results from a complex set of circumstances that require people to choose between food, shelter, and other basic needs.” One concern is that there are 18-year-old college students that put themselves through school, along with providing their own shelter and food, yet a 30-year-old male is seen sleeping on a bench. Not being insensitive, but how is that possible? This is what we need to find out. There are dozens of organizations in the nation, including the Homeless Coalition, the National Homeless Charity, Alliance for Human Needs, and thousands of shelters to help the homeless get back on their feet. I, as well as many organizations, want to know how they became homeless in the first place.
Therefore, the question is, why are people homeless? It is important to understand what actually makes people homeless so we can reduce the numbers. According to both PBS.org and NationalHomeless.org, homelessness may be caused by a variety of factors, but “the coincidence of increased levels of poverty and decreased numbers of affordable housing often to blame.” There are other factors along with the increase in poverty levels and unaffordable housing that are the cause of the rising numbers of homeless people, including domestic violence, lack of affordable health care, mental illness and addiction disorders. Perhaps some people cannot help the reason or reasons that they are homeless. However, I do think that some of the homeless population can help it- by getting just a minimum wage paying job. There are people that get by from working at McDonald’s making $6.75 an hour. It may not be what society depicts as the “average” lifestyle, but it will provide food and shelter. Understanding the reasons that people become homeless is the only answer to fixing the problem. An article on MSNBC.com stated that “there were 744,000 homeless people in the United States in 2005, according to the first national estimate in a decade.” How can we decrease this number?
Answering the question of why people are homeless is a complicated issue. It would take extensive secondary analysis and face-to-face, open-ended interviews with the homeless to figure out why they are homeless and how we can fix it. The secondary analysis would give incite into research that has already been completed on the topic. Interviews with a random sample of the homeless population would help gain a new perspective and be able to document the existence of a social problem.